a cluster of bloggers

I certainly was a big brave girl last night!

Last night, I swallowed all my usual ‘stranger danger’ fears and went along to the London Bloggers Meetup.  You may remember that I went along to this in January, but I missed the February one as I couldn’t walk at that time (damned calf muscle!!).  There doesn’t seem to have been one in March.

Anyway, I’d put my name down to go last week, and was having my usual worries about going out and meeting new people, and then yesterday I found out that the only three people I’ve really been in contact with since then weren’t going!  Argh!!

But no, I did not back out!  I was a big brave girl and went along anyway.  And I’m glad that i did, as not only did I get to chat to the lovely Tom again, but I also met some other interesting people, including Asgeir.  this was really good for me, as although a lot of people I know think of me as a total geek, I was well and truly out-geeked by the people there!!  Although I did find myself getting into a dodgy uber-geeky area when I was appalled that not everyone had considered their plan-of-action if they were survivors of the Peak Oil Crisis or a zombie virus.  I had to tell myself to shut up as I’d obviously put FAR too much thought into it!

i also had to find a friend of a friend there, which was really embarrassing – especially as I didn’t know his actual name and couldn’t go up to just anyone and ask if they were his Twitter name (it DOES have ‘Adonis’ in it, so there was good reason!).  I think that situation is just an embarrassment of modern times!

Anyway, we heard a talk about making money from your blog (not something I would ever do) and also about mflow, which is a new product that is kind of like the bastard child of iTunes and Twitter.  It goes live tomorrow, and we had a code last week to download and play with it early, but I must admit, I haven’t had a chance to yet.  It looks like a great idea though.  you can see what your friends are listening to, and share with them what you are listening to, and then if they buy it, you get 20% of the price that they paid!  result!!  I think it will be great to see in action, but hope there’s a decent library.  You will obviously need to have a lot of friends with the same tastes in music to get the most out of it!

So, it was a good night, and I was really glad that I went along 🙂  I’m looking forward to the next one.

alternative? to what?!

Today I watched the video below in which Miranda sawyer (The Observer’s Radio Critic) gives her argument for why BBC 6Music should be saved.

What was the most interesting thing for me in this video (apart from her obviously brilliant and eloquent way of arguing the point – put so much better than my blog post a few weeks ago!) was that she suggests that ‘alternative’ is a mindset that you can’t get out of.

I’ve never really thought of myself as ‘alternative’ before – but I’m thinking perhaps I am in my mind.  It’s not a conscious decision but big Hollywood blockbusters don’t interest me.  I watch a hell of a lot of foreign films (especially J/K-horrors) – in fact I have a couple of French ones to watch this weekend from Blockbuster.  And theatre-wise, I am always more likely to go and watch something a little ‘odd’ at Barbican than go and see something like Cats (which I hated every moment of).  In fact, I would only really consider something like that because I’m taking The Girl or going along with somebody else (eg when i went to see Oliver! back in January).

I guess that also accounts for the fact that the thought of going to Disneyland/world fills me with a sense of absolute dread, makes me feel nauseous and therefore I’ve never really considered it.  Although that could be just because I’d probably stab someone.  Probably someone dressed up as an animal of some type.

Does that make my friends alternative too then?  Do they have to be alternative to like me?  Do THEY have to be alternative for me to like THEM?  Or is everyone alternative to something?

My brain is now confused.

oh what a night (pt 1)

The Modfather himself!

So, on Thursday night, me & the lovely Mr Chop & Cut went to the Haiti benefit gig at the Roundhouse (one of my favourite venues!).

Since doing my leg in, I’d been thinking that I wouldn’t be able to make it to the event, but after contacting the organisers on Twitter, they arranged for me to exchange my standing tickets for seated ones in the balcony (which were twice as expensive!) – it was a very good move, and we had a pretty decent view!

As it’s only down the road from work, I got there first, and was loitering around the entrance, trying to work out who the people were that were being papped…I later found out that they were mainly various radio presenters, so didn’t feel too bad about not recognising them.

Then Neil Morrisey came and asked me a question (very trivial) but I felt slightly starstruck – and he really played to the crowd when he was presenting a little later, spoke a few words about the disaster and how we should all be doing whatever we can to help the people of Haiti and actually shouted out “Can we fix it?”…corny, but it was appreciated 🙂

So, Marcus Brigstocke was the main presenter, and I know I like him anyway, but he was better than I thought he’d be – a bit more near the mark than he usually is on TV and radio – I guess being live you can get away with more!

So – first act was Nate James.  i’d heard his name before but that’s it.  The start to the gig was bad.  His voice was really good and soully, and I was impressed with it, the only thing wrong was that his first choice was a cover of ‘What’s Going On’ but with lyrics about Haiti.  Ugh!!!  WHY???

Next up was a band called The Humans, and I turned to C and said “Is that Toyah?” and yes, indeed it was the woman but it’s a mystery why the hell she was there (see what I did there?) – she was mental as she ever was, but in a really bizarre oh my god what the hell is this racket kind of way!  She looked good, and I loved the dress, but no.  Never ever accost my ears with that noise again.  Please God!

Next were Bombay Bicycle Club, fresh from winning Best New Band at the NME awards the previous night.  I saw them at Lovebox last year – in fact had specifically got there on time to see them as they’d played early.  They were pretty good, but it was still early, the place wasn’t very full and I don’t think their usual energy was there.  They were far better at Lovebox.

So, it wasn’t looking THAT great so far.  But next up were Futureheads who did an acoustic set – just the three of them on guitars.  they did three tracks, one that I didn’t know, but The Beginning of the Twist and Hounds of Love were brilliant – and way better than I was expecting from them.

Interspersing the acts, while all the techies were sorting the stage and equipment out were various comedians, etc keeping the audience upbeat.  At some stage, two very very nervous young lads came out and didn’t do great, but I swore blind that I recognised to them, and turned to C and said “They were in Misfits! He could turn back time, and he could make himself invisible!”  it meant nothing to C but I was pretty sure that was them.  In the middle of their stumbling banter, one of them said “I’m not quite sure what we should do now!” and someone from the crowd shouted “Use your super powers!!!” and they laughed and said they couldn’t use them in public, so I felt glad that I’d recognised them!  It was a surprisingly entertaining series – I wasn’t expecting it to be much cop, but ended up watching every episode!

So, the next act for me were the really pleasant surprise.  The little hidden gem support that I would never purposely have listened to, but now definitely will!  They were the Lovely Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly.  I can’t explain what got me about them, apart from the lead singer (and brilliant classic guitarist) seemed to have so much passion and energy.  i loved his voice, and he really seemed to inject so much into the music.  Their stuff is a lot less dancey etc than i would normally be attracted to – a hell of a lot lighter, but it was really enjoyable, and they were really entertaining – and they had brass instruments too, which I love.

I am blabbing on longer than I thought I would, so I’m going to stop here, and come back to the rest of my rather lengthy review, but I had a quick look on YouTube for Cape, and there doesn’t seem to be THAT much of their stuff about, and I think they’r ebetter performers than shows on their vids, but I actually like this, because I think the video is really clever 🙂

musical youth

Florence & The Machine @ Union Chapel was a fab concert!

…and no, I’m not talking about the group who once wanted you to pass the dutchie to the person on your left.  Although, the fact that song is the first thing that springs into my mind when the words ‘musical’ and ‘youth’ are out together probably gives some indication of my age!

I’m old…oh so old.  I don’t feel as old as I am though, and after a brilliant conversation with someone I’ve known for 3 years who said that they were more than old enough to be be mother, and then shockingly discovered that I am only actually 10 years younger than them, I like to think I don’t look it!

So, an ongoing row with me and The Man is the fact that he reckons that I am ‘trying to recapture my youth’ as I am very into finding new music, new bands etc.  I feel jittery if I don’t have at least one gig booked (and I only have one booked at the moment, so I’m, not altogether happy just now!).  I love music, and I love live music especially, and the fact is that there are a hell of a lot of talented young people out there, with a huge amount of enthusiasm and animation.  And cosier venues are brilliant (I love Scala and Koko) and let’s face it, they’re cheaper!

I don’t think embracing new bands (as well as still retaining love and respect for the old, I hasten to add) is me trying to recapture my youth – in fact, I think him playing nothing but The The, Fatima Mansions, The Damned and stuff like that is HIM trying to retain his youth and pretend that life hasn’t moved on.  I must admit though, in the last few years, I’ve managed to find some new bands on his wavelength, and he’s really liked them and we’ve seen them live – The XX and White Lies to name just a couple – but now I’m worried that he’s gone in a totally new direction.  He’s having a folksy, bluegrass stage.  He ADORES Mumford & Sons and Seasick Steve and went to see a local bluegrass band playing a couple of weeks ago and was absolutely raving about it.

So – am I just refusing to grow up?  I must admit, I didn’t go to gigs much when I was younger – I was into house music when it first came out – and raves weren’t really the same!  And then I bought a house when I was 18, married at 19 – so I was skint and married and not very happy at all, so I didn’t go to any gigs then either.

Or am I just accepting of my eclectic tastes, and happy to give anything a chance?

I believe I am part of the generation that refuses to admit that we’re adults – and I never feel old at gigs – there’s always a lot of people who look a lot older than me (or perhaps they’re just unfortunate and are really only 26!) – and I think that music really is a great leveler.

It can’t only be me who feels this way!

things i do when i should be working

Ellie Goulding - 'The one to watch' in 2010

Well, apparently Ellie Goulding is top of the BBC Sound of 2010 list which means she’s destined for big things this year!

This news has given me a new excuse to procrastinate today while I’m working from home.

I don’t know whether it’s just me, but when I’m working from home, I tend to get a lot more done, but feel a lot more guilty when I’m not actually doing any work.  In the office, me and my boss laugh and joke and show each other stuff on the internet – I’m quite happy to have Facebook open permanently (I CAN multi-task).  I also have a work Twitter account, which also throws up some interesting stuff.  Then I get phone calls and have meetings and there’s so many distractions.  Plus I have to travel there and back.

When I’m working from home, I tend to start looking at emails and stuff at about 8am and end up doing far more actual work, and yet when I’m not working, I keep feeling like I’m going to get found out!  I wonder why that is.

Anyway, Ellie Goulding – as of today she’s suddenly got her name all over the news and the internet, and so I spent the last 10 or 15 minutes looking through YouTube videos of her at the Union Chapel gig in November.  Mainly to see if I can see myself.  Ahem.

I wonder how many other people do that.  When they’ve been somewhere that they know has been recorded, they go and look at countless videos just to see if they can spot themselves a nd if they do, then moan OH MY GOD – do I look like THAT?!!?  Was I dancing like THAT??  I look SOOOOOOOOooooooooooo pissed/stoned/fat/slutty/mental/like my mum*!!”

*delete as applicable

I’m sure that’s not just me.

Anyway – it was a brilliant gig, but Ellie was WAY down my list of favourite acts that night.  Obviously I went for Florence & The Machine mainly (3rd time I saw her last year) who is perfect far the fantastic acoustics of Union Chapel (which is the most amazing venue), but close on her heels were the amazing Rodrigo y Gabriela – who I had never heard of at the time.  they just completely fired the crowd up – and again, they were perfect for the venue.

Ellie had a good voice, but it was nowhere near as powerful or controlled as Florence, and I think Under The Sheets especially sounds far better once it has been produced etc, as I quite like the single, but live it was definitely lacking something.  All of the Union Chapel gigs were acoustic and I don’t think that was really her strength.

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